May 10, 2023

Basic Needs Survey shows food, housing issues for New Mexico’s college students

The University of New Mexico released a survey that showed more than two-thirds of New Mexico students who took part experience housing or food insecurity.

The year-long statewide survey was led by UNM Honors College associate professor Sarita Vargas and a team of faculty and students.

The team surveyed 15,238 students, faculty and staff from 27 New Mexico public colleges and universities as part of UNM’s Basic Needs Project.

The survey’s results, which were published Monday via the University’s public relations department, showed that 60 percent of student respondents reported food insecurity with 37 percent of faculty and 40 percent of staff reporting they were experiencing food insecurity.

The survey also showed that 64 percent of students, 46 percent of faculty and 50 percent of staff reported housing insecurity with 18 percent of students, 17 percent of faculty and 11 percent of staff reported experiencing homelessness. A previous version of the survey only queried UNM students. 

The USDA defines food insecurity as “a lack of consistent access to enough food for every person in a household to live an active, healthy life.” Similarly, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines housing insecurity, or instability, as lack of security in shelter due to issues such as “having trouble paying rent, overcrowding, moving frequently, or spending the bulk of household income on housing.”